We stand in solidarity with the uprising unfolding across the country following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Jamel Floyd, and those affected by generations of structural violence against Black communities.

We're putting together a list of resources for self-education, mutual aid, and ongoing action in the struggle for racial justice.

The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2020

All Issues
MAY 2020 Issue
Poetry

True Account of Talking to the 7 in Sunnyside


   - Right to Liquor Sign
   past Super Laundromat & European
         Mediterranean
               Foods
   which is closed. FOR RENT. Inquiries
   five one six two four eight oh
      eight
        oh
   there is Golden Wok, then
      Top
         Quality
            Cleaners


 - What are you doing?


    - Oh. This.
   Bodega. Closed.


 - Awww.


    - It’s now
   STORE FOR RENT
   Inquiries Call


 - We can’t go to it again?


    - No more


 - Awww!


     - Used to be Korean
   -owned & now it’s just
         European
            Meat
          Market
   on the corner of
        forty second


 - Why it’s getting closed?


    - Because
   it’s getting
   closed. Because richer people
   have been moving here
   & raising
        rent


 - What does that mean?


    - It’s called gentrification


 - Awww….


    - They make it hard
   for us to continue to live
   in this neighborhood


 - Well what is gentremecation?


    - When people who make
   a greater amount of
        money
      move into your
   neighborhood &
       raise
         rent
   they threaten to push out
   families who look just like
              us


 - That’s so sad!
Who will eat our food?
It’s so tasty!




        2


    - Keep walking west
   till you hit forty first street
      & see
            PS 150
   which, thankfully, we’ll avoid
            this fall


 - Why we will avoid it?


    - Because the principal is terrible
   & when principals are
            horrible
      Teachers leave
   & we are always going to support
            Teachers


 - Why Baba?


    - Because Teachers are the ones
   who keep our cities
            intact


 - What is intact?

    - Holding fast.
   Teachers keep kids out of trouble,
   they guide you to be a better person
   actually yr first teachers are always
.   going to be Mama & Baba
   the others
         Buddha
   Ah Mah Ah Gung Coco & Coca


 - I love Coca! Baba
we didn’t go to temple for a long
long time!


    - I know. We will
   next weekend. After
   we attend Tita Emmy’s
   panel at PS1 MoMA,
              ok?
   Little steps big steps tiny steps
              steps


 - Why oh why the um principal
is terrible?


    - Ah because the principal
   doesn’t care about
        her teachers
   she wants always to blame
        her teachers
   for every problem at
        her school
   precisely what most
           bad
              principals
                    do




        3


 - Baba how many how many days
is Earth going to be alive?


    - That is a good question
   How Many Days Is Earth Going to Be Alive
   I can tell you we’ve arrived on Queens Boulevard
   & the forty first street bus stop of the Q32 & 60


 - Baba Baba
the only thing under Earth
that would be alive
         volcanoes?


    - Ohh THIS place
   closed too?


 - And no firecracker
and no shooting


    - Used to be a spa
   meanwhile itong Baruir’s Coffee
     e nahati siya
   Virage’s Mart Convenience Store
   where yr Coca Marvie wd hoard
   phone cards to call Manila
   & Sunnyside Florist NY For All
   Designs & Occasions⎼⎼hangaang
   kelan lang kaya para sa kanila?
   Hetong Coffee Shop sa kanto
    once run by four brothers from Puebla
   now a bistro called SOLE LUNA


 - Also what, Baba?


    - Sole Luna, mahal ko.
   Nasa Lowery station na tayo
   para kunin yung 7




        4


 - Baba, Baba! Um the time
when we get home can you please
look up how many days is the Earth
gonna survive


    - Cge, mahal ko
   but only if you step
   away from here
     first
   then say
       Hello


 - Hello, 7 train!
HELLOOOOOOOOO….

Contributor

Paolo Javier

A featured artist in Queens International 18, Paolo Javier is the author of the chapbook and cassette EP Maybe the Sweet Honey Pours (Nion Editions/Temporary Tapes 2019), and O.B.B., a long comics poem forthcoming from Nightboat Books.

close

The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2020

All Issues